Cancer is a word that scares most of us. Prolonged illness, sky-high expenses, emotional drain, failing health and even death; this and lot more is what cancer victims face. Have you not ever wished if you could do something to control cancer? If you did; then the answer to all is awareness. This article is aimed to spread awareness about the various signs and symptoms of cancer. With timely medical opinion and appropriate diagnostic tests; early detection and treatment of cancer is possible.
Here are the 10 common signs and symptoms of cancer you should know
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss is losing weight for no apparent reason or without making any particular efforts. It is a common symptom of cancer and sometimes one of the most initial signs too. You may notice unexplained weight loss in cancers of the stomach, intestines, lungs or others and even when cancer spreads.
Skin Changes / Change in a Wart or a Mole
Skin changes are one of the important signs and symptoms of cancer. Changes in the skin, a wart or a mole is an early sign of many types of cancers including skin cancer. These changes can be reddened skin, darkened skin patches, or yellowish discolouration of the skin or the eyes, as in jaundice. Changes in the skin can also include excessive itching, excessive hair growth or bleeding in an area, wart or a mole, appearance of new moles or sudden increase in the size of an existing mole. If you notice any such skin changes, it is time to see a doctor for further investigations.
Unexpected bleeding or passing of discharge from any opening in the body can be a serious symptom of cancer. Unusual bleeding from the anus can be a sign of cancer of the stomach, colon or rectum. Vaginal bleeding is often a common symptom of cancer of the vagina, uterus or cervix. In breast cancer, bleeding or unusual discharge from the breasts is common. Blood may be present in urine or stool, can be coughed up or may be passed out from the nose. If unusual bleeding is noticed, you should seek medical advice so that appropriate diagnostic tests can be done.
Pain presents itself in many ways and can be a symptom of cancer. Headaches that stays for long, bone pain that appears from nowhere and any other unexplained pain in the body can be seen in cancer. Pain in cancer can also mean that cancer has spread to other parts of the body, which can be alarming. If a person complaints of unexplained pain in a particular area or in different parts of the body, it is better to get it checked.
Persistent Fever and Fatigue
Fever that is present for long can be a sign of cancer, particularly in cancers affecting the immune system. Prolonged fatigue too is an important indicator of cancer. When fever and fatigue remain persistent for a long time, in the absence of any other illness, make sure that the condition is evaluated properly.
Presence of Lumps in the body
Lumps or bumps are another important sign of cancer. Lumps, which feel like a bulge can be present in the testicles, breasts, under the skin or soft tissues and as enlarged lymph nodes. The lumps can sometimes be seen but most often felt when you touch and during self-examination.
Most sores or ulcers in the mouth or on the skin heal with time. Non-healing sores, which take a very long time to heal or keep repeating even after being healed may be a sign of cancer. If you notice any non-healing sores, get them checked right away.
Persistent Indigestion or Difficulty in Swallowing
Repeated episodes of indigestion, persistent abdominal discomfort and stomach pain, difficulty in swallowing and burning pain in the throat need attention. These can be the signs of cancer. As these symptoms are noticed in other ailments too, the possibility of cancer may be ignored, but before passing it off as another episode of indigestion, make sure you get it evaluated.
Change in Bowel or Bladder Habits
Changes in regular bowel and bladder habits are often an indication of cancer. If there is a need to pass urine or stool too often or too less, there is something wrong. One of the symptoms of cancer can include difficulty or pain while passing urine or stool, constipation, feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen and bloody discharge in urine or stools.
Another common symptom of cancer one should know is the presence of a long-standing cough. Although, cough is often ignored as a minor complaint, persistent cough and hoarseness of voice can be dangerous.
Remember to watch out for the signs and symptoms of cancer. See a doctor and take medical opinion at the earliest. Medical examination and relevant investigations play an important role in detecting cancers. With appropriate diagnostic tests the exact cause can be found and if it is cancer, early treatment can be started. This will help to detect cancer early, prevent its spread and preserve health.
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